Hike in food prices looms
(The Philippine Star) - June 1, 2008 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The Cold Chain Association of the Philippines (CCAP) warned of a sharp price hike in the next few months when supplies of beef, buffalo meat, pork, chicken and other foodstuffs imported two to three months ago are depleted.

In a press conference, CCAP president Anthony Dizon and vice president Jun Lim pointed out that a number of factors are pulling up the prices of imported foodstuffs.

They said the increasing scarcity of global supply and the increasing demand for food is one factor, followed by the depreciation of the peso against the US dollar.

Another factor is the increasing cost of fuel which impacts on transport and shipping costs as well as power costs for storage of the frozen or chilled imported food items.

Dizon reiterated that the global concern over food security affects the Philippines, which has opted to rely more heavily on imports rather than ensuring its own food production.

Unfortunately, with increasing demand and growing scarcity for food staples, Dizon said the Philippines now faces a situation where even if it has the money to purchase food supplies, there are no sellers.

Dizon and Lim pointed out that the Philippines is heavily dependent on beef imports since the country does not raise cattle, and even the local carabao industry is struggling.

Beef prices, Lim said, have increased to $4.50 from only $2.65 in January.

Imported pork prices have likewise increased from $1.90 to $2.50.

Buffalo meat, which is used by local manufacturers to produce corned beef and is imported from India, now costs $2.75 from only $2.15.

With global food security now gaining importance, the CCAP is urging the Department Agriculture to give importance to the cold chain supply link that would enable farmers to store their produce and bring it to the demand centers.

The cold chain-supply link sector, Dizon said, estimates that the government and the private sector need to invest at least P6 billion to close the existing gaps.

He added that the cold chain sector needs to invest in infrastructure and technology. – Marianne Go

ANTHONY DIZON COLD CHAIN ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES DEPARTMENT AGRICULTURE DIZON DIZON AND LIM FOOD JUN LIM MARIANNE GO
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